Sunday, October 31, 2004

It's Not a Waste

Do you waste you vote if you choose someone that you know will lose? Bart doesn't think so, and neither do I.

I see an election serving a couple of purposes. The main reason we vote, of course, is to choose leaders. Also, the election becomes a national survey on the issues. In the privacy of the voting booth, a person is most likely to choose based on opinion or belief, not peer pressure. It's too bad the questions can't be more specific. (If 60% vote for Kerry and 40% for Bush, is it because of the Iraq mess, the economy, Social Security plans, road bike vs. mountain bike? Who knows?)

Kang and KodosI've never understood the attitude that says that if you vote for the loser, the vote was wasted. I look to the great literature for social commentary, and nothing covers this issue better than the 1996 Simpsons Halloween special. In the first segment, two aliens (Kodos and Kang) take over the bodies of Clinton and Dole just before the election. When they are uncovered, a voter threatens to vote for a third party candidate. Kodos (or was it Kang) replies, "Sure, just throw your vote away!"

My policy is to vote for the person I want to serve. Don't just try to vote for the winners. Don't vote 3rd party just because you hate the two party system. Vote for the best man or woman for the job. Then, when everything goes to Hell in a handbasket, you can say "Don't blame me. I voted for Kodos."

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Bandwidth Bandit

I admit it. I'm a bandwidth bandit.

Cartoon of Old West Bandit

I once wrote a stupid little post about how one of Lafayette's mayoral candidates looked like Unfrozen Caveman lawyer. I found pictures of each and included them. About two days later, I received a comment written in chat room speak saying how the author had hacked my site. I went to the page and saw that the caveman picture had been replaced with a closeup of a woman's most private area being invaded by a vegetable. Not the comparison I was trying to make!

I quickly changed my Blogger password, and found a new picture to use in place of the rude one. I couldn't figure out how he had found my password.

It was only recently that I figured out that the hacker hadn't hacked at all. He just posted a different picture with the same name that I had used. It finally sunk in when another picture I had repurposed in a different blog quit working. I tried the picture's URL and received a message from the host that the user's bandwidth limit had been exceeded. I'm so slow sometimes.

All of the pictures you see in these posts are hosted on other servers. I never really thought about the fact that the person who posted the file may not want others to use it. Probably because I get free disk space and bandwidth from my employer (500MB of disk with some ungodly high transfer limit), and I use the free Blogspot service for this blog. Most webpage owners have to pay for space and bandwidth.

By linking to a graphic on another site, am I "stealing" bandwidth from the person paying the bill? (I'm not talking about copyright laws right now, just webserver resources.) It's not entirely black and white, but I don't think I am. If a person uploads a file - text, graphic, audit, etc - then they must realize that others may view the file. We would love to control how web content is viewed, but that's difficult to do. I have seen the more sophisticated web operators that setup limits as to how some files may be called. (Deep linking not allowed!) If you want to control it, do it actively.

As I read what I have just written, I see that I am sounding like an uncaring capitalist.... Oh, well. I guess it had to come out sometime! :)


Potbelly LogoTook the family to Potbelly, the new sandwich shop at State and River Road. (Anybody know what that building is called - 111 S. River Road?)

I love the "Wreck" with mushrooms, and my daughter was full of praise for the Pizza sub with pepperoni. We all had milkshakes for dessert.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


My recent trip took me to a 'Battleground State'. Since Indiana is firmly in the President's grasp, there is no need for either candidate to campaign here. In fact, the only reason that Bush and Cheney came to the Hoosier state was to raise money.

Picture of a WolfI had never seen the presidential campaign commercials before. Just like we see the governor and state representative race commercials almost constantly, the residents of my destination state see the presidential commercials several times in each break. They were almost all of the negative variety, including the now famous Wolf spot. I got tired of them very quickly.

Picture of Jon Bon JoviWhat I thought was neat was that the President's visits were quietly covered in the news, while Kerry's appearance with Jon Bon Jovi and upcoming concert with the Foo Fighters were excitedly reported.

If Kerry is getting this kind of coverage in all of the close states, he could have a chance.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

...So Satisfied I'm On My Way

I'm not sure when it happened, but I can't use headphones in public.

Picture of RCA Lyra MP3 PlayerI'm on a business trip in a Midwestern college town. I decided to take a walk around town and listen to some tunes using my MP3 player. So, I fired up some Yes, and hit the streets.

For some reason, as I walked amongst the college kids, I found my self feeling very self conscious and uncomfortable. Maybe it was the music? I was probably the only one listening to "I've Seen All Good People...". No, they can't hear it (although it was kind of loud). Also, I felt the same, maybe even more so, when the Kenny Wayne Shepard song came on. I think it was the headphones.

Picture of iPod Ear BudsNow, they're not tiny white earbuds like the iPod uses. They are actually kind of large (see picture above). I saw several kids with the Apple music players, and they all seemed to fit in well. I don't find the earbud style phones to be very comfortable. I start to feel "ear fatigue" pretty quickly, and they tend to fall out a lot. Picture of Back of the Head Headphones One guy had the 'back of the head' headphones, which I use in my office. They feel pretty good, but they are a little big to carry around when not in use.

Not sure why it bothered me so much. I'll never see these kids again, and there's nothing wrong with listening to music. Perhaps I'm realizing that I am no longer of that generation, and than I need to act like a middle-aged father.

I'm either going to have to admit that I'm not the same age as college students ... or get an iPod. (They don't cost that much, do they?)

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Uncle Who?

I just found out that my wife's uncle has an alias. His new prepaid cell phone is in an assumed name. He's always been pretty paranoid about the government watching him, and is big on conspiracy theories.

(He told us yesterday that the Twin Towers and Pentagon attacks were planned by the Federal Government. Apparently, there were charges set off that caused the towers to collapse, and that there is no way that a jet could have crashed into the Pentagon. Sheesh!)

Anyway, if you ever get a credit request from a Walter Kennon (born 9/15/1950), tell him Tippecanoe says hey!

(Is it at all ironic that I'm making fun of his alias while writing these entries anonymously?)

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

There May Be Hope

There are two propositions on ballots in other states that I'm watching closely. Proposition 62 in California seeks to abandon the party centric primary system. Instead, all candidates would compete in a single race, with the top two advancing to the general election. (Doesn't Louisiana already have something like this?) Meanwhile, in Colorado, a measure outlines a plan to assign electoral votes based on the percentage of votes a Presidential candidate receives, rather than assign the whole lot to the winner. This is a first step towards abolishing the Electoral College all together.

I have to think that if these pass, that other states will pick up the ball and attempt the same. The Colorado proposition especially could gain popularity in almost every state - at least with the voters. Party officials are against both, mostly because it upsets the status quo.

It may be a while before ideas like this are raised in Indiana, but I'm ready to support both.

Friday, October 15, 2004

What I Learned This Week

Lee does WILF, or What I Learned Friday, each week. This blantant copy of his post will give me a chance to write about work and home without identifying anyone or giving myself up. (Why am I so worried about that? I don't know.)
  1. Every office has someone who is not a team player
  2. That person doesn't know that he/she is thought of as non-cooperative.
  3. My office has one of these
  4. I hope its not me.
  5. It took my over 2 hours to clean my desk today.
This is tougher than I thought. I should probably think about it all week, keep notes, and then compile them for a killer post.

Thursday, October 14, 2004


You can tell a lot about a person based on whether they pronounce the 'H' in vehicle.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Yes! Yes! I Hear You Already!!!

(My son came up with this)

The guy on the other end of the call from the Verizon guy:

"Yeah........Yeah.........Yeah...........Yeah..........Yeah...It IS good, isn't it.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Why Continue a Bad Project?

This comes up often in the business world. During the lifecycle of a project, one has to periodically review the possibility of stopping. This course is needed when the original goal is no longer desired, the cost of the project has increased beyond the value of the result, or if the goal is no longer attainable. It's a tough decision to make, because the project manager has to admit that the decision to begin may have been wrong and that valuable resources have been wasted. However, it would be worse to continue to waste the resources just to save face or justify the costs so far.

This is an accepted part of project management, and someone who has to pull the plug will gain humility, as well as valuable insight that will help in future decisions.

This concept came to mind when watching the presidential debate last week. The question was if the gains in Iraq were worth the loss of life so far (1000+ soldiers, plus many foreign civilians and untold numbers of Iraqis). The President was obviously upset by the question - pointing out that to even question the military action there sends a bad message to the troops. Senator Kerry answered that we must not confuse the war with the warriors. These are brave, dedicated men and women who are ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country and this cause. However, should we continue to risk their lives, and take advantage of their selflessness, just to justify previous losses? Admitting that we shouldn't be there, and that this horrible situation will not get better regardless of how many people die, will show the troops, and the families of the dead soldiers, that the commander-in-chief is truly looking out for the best interests of both the military forces and the country.

It's time to apply straight forward business sense to the decision making process and not let emotions and nostalgia guide our policies. Our military forces are looking to the President for sensible leadership. Can we get someone in office who will provide it?